The Unlearnig Oranization LO10121
Sun, 22 Sep 1996 23:19:24 +1200 (NZST)

Replying to LO10049 --

Ilfryn Price wrote:

As I've mentioned before why not try quarters. Three as you have and a
fourth for other peoples performance. If say Ben you and I both ran
departments and I was rewarded for your performance [not the general
performance but your specific performance], and that of a few others,
imagine what would happen. I know one organisation that has done it
for years and they consistently lead their industry in both performance
and reputation for learning.

-- end of quote --

There is a famous experiment in Vygotskyian psychology (I cannot
immediately cite the source) where students were asked to conduct a
science experiment in groups in two classrooms. Mixed ability groups were
deliberately created. In the first classroom the students were told that
at the end of the experiment they would have to choose a member of their
group to describe and explain the results, and that group members would
all receive the same grade from an assessment of that presentation. In
the second class the students were told that the TEACHER would select a
member of the group to make the presentation, and that individual group
member grades would be awarded based on that presentation.

In the first classroom: (a) science students previously believed to be
'poor' at science were told to stand aside by those who were 'good'. The
good science students did the experiments and made the presentations
(without exception):

(b) the overall quality of presentations by the 'good' students, was of
a competent, but not outstanding, standard.

In the second classroom: (a) the groups went to extraordinary lengths to
involve the 'poor' science students and to make sure they understood what
was happening;

(b) the overall quality of presentation (by students selected randomly)
was outstanding.

This experiment, and others like it:

(a) demonstrates the wisdom of Illfyn Price's observation - in this case
student performance improved both individually and as a collective whole
when rewards were given on the basis of the potential performance of
others in the group;

(b) demonstrates the significance of mediating rules and cultural norms in
determining the behaviour and performace of teams:

(c) demonstrates again Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development, which
holds that the developmental potential of individuals is greater when
their learning is socially situated and socially constructed than it is
when cognitive functioning occurs individually

Phillip Capper
New Zealand


Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>